MIGRATION FROM THE OAU TO THE AU: EXPLORING THE QUEST FOR A MORE EFFECTIVE AFRICAN PEACEKEEPING CAPABILITY

  • Bruce Thobane
  • Theo Neethling
  • Francois Vreÿ

Abstract

This thesis explores the quest for a more effective African peacekeeping capability.It seeks to answer the question what is different now that can enable the AfricanUnion (AU) to establish an effective peacekeeping capability after the Organisationof African Unity (OAU) failed to do so in the past. The study is a descriptiveanalysis of efforts by the AU to enhance its peacekeeping capabilities in resolvingconflicts in Africa. The thesis traces the challenges that limited security cooperationand conditions that enhanced such cooperation in recent years, culminating in theapproval of a continental standby force. It establishes that Africa was stagnated bysecurity problems and at the same time it was reluctant to directly commit itself toresolve such problems, but instead sought assistance from the internationalcommunity or relied on its own ad hoc arrangements. The study identifies thereason for this approach to have been the value of sovereignty entrenched in theOAU Charter, which forced leaders to pledge non-interference in each other’sinternal affairs.The study further reveals that the establishment of the AU in 2000 was meant to giveAfrica the capability to resolve its own problems by consolidating intra-Africansecurity cooperation. The establishment of the Peace and Security Council (PSC)and its implementation tools such as the African Standby Force (ASF) opened a newwindow of hope in peace and security matters. However, the PSC is facingoperational challenges, principally because of financial and logistical constraints,above its own lack of institutionalised mechanisms to ensure effective partnershipsand burden sharing with its partners. This is against the revelation that the AU hasinsufficient capacity to embark on multidimensional peacekeeping operations on itsown. This was highlighted by the AU peacekeeping operations in Burundi andDarfur (Sudan).The study concludes that although there is more political will, an improvedcontinental security architecture and better United Nations-African cooperation, it isunlikely that the AU will be able to achieve an effective peacekeeping capability inthe short to medium-term. This is against the backdrop that at the moment, the AUhas severe limitations in both material and human resources. The AU is also unableto raise sufficient funds to pursue its peace and security agenda, and therefore theAU is still heavily dependent on external donors in its peacekeeping endeavours.However, the intended operationalisation of the ASF represents a promisingachievement towards a long-standing Pan-African ideal that calls for “Africansolutions to African problems”.
Published
2011-08-08
Section
Supplementa